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Programs of Study at OPR

There are four levels of certification in demography available to students enrolled at Princeton.

Ph.D. in Demography

A small number of entering graduate students with a strong interest in population and a strong quantitative background, often in statistics, mathematics, or environmental sciences (though not limited to these fields), will be accepted into a course of study leading to a Ph.D. in Demography. For the Program in Population Studies, applicants are required to submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), and for those students whose native language is not English and who have not had advanced training at an English-speaking institution, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is also required. Application should be made to Population Studies (POP).

As part of this program of graduate training, students are required to demonstrate basic competence in mathematics and statistics, as well as mastery of demography and a related discipline (e.g., sociology, economics, or social policy). Specific requirements include completion of the General Examination, a research paper of publishable quality, and the Ph.D. dissertation. The General Examination consists of three examinations, usually taken over the course of two years, in which the student must demonstrate proficiency in basic demographic theory and methods as well as proficiency in two of the following fields of concentration: economic demography, family demography, fertility/fecundity, health, historical demography, mathematical/statistical demography, migration/immigration, mortality, population and development, population and environment, population policy, poverty/child wellbeing, and urbanization. More detailed information on degree requirements may be obtained from the Director of Graduate Studies or the administrator for the program.

Department Degree with Specialization in Population

The majority of students who study at the OPR are doctoral candidates in the Departments of Economics and Sociology who choose to specialize in population. To do so, they must complete the general examination in demography and write a dissertation on a demographic subject, supervised by program faculty, as part of their departmental requirements. In some additional departments, such as History or Politics, the general examination in demography may also be accepted as partial fulfillment of degree requirements, and students in these departments may also elect to write their doctoral dissertations on a topic related to demography.

The degree earned would be a Ph.D. in the discipline, e.g., Economics or Sociology. Application should be made to the relevant department, indicating Demography as the Area of Interest (Where/How Should I Apply?).

Joint-Degree Program

Students interested in social policy who initially apply to the Joint Degree Program in Social Policy (JDP) may earn a joint degree in Demography and Social Policy.

To qualify for a joint degree, the student must fulfill all home departmental requirements, including passing the general examination in demography and writing a dissertation on a topic related to the study of population. In addition, the candidate for the joint degree must pass a general examination in one additional specialized field of population beyond what is required for the standard departmental degree. Permission to do the joint degree is obtained from the Director of Graduate Studies for the Program in Population Studies. It is not necessary to apply for the joint degree as part of the application to Princeton. Instead, the decision to apply for the joint degree is usually made by students during their second or third year of study.

Certificate in Demography

The Office of Population Research, in connection with the Program in Population Studies, offers a non-degree Certificate in Demography to those who successfully complete four graduate courses in population studies: POP 501/ECO 571/SOC 531/, POP 502/ECO 572/SOC 532, WWS 587, and one elective course pertaining to some aspect of population. The first two are the basic graduate courses in demography: POP 501 is offered in the fall semester and is a prerequisite for POP 502, which is offered in the spring semester. WWS 587 entails the completion of an individual or joint research project, under the supervision of an OPR faculty or research staff member. A decision on the fourth course is made together with the Director of Graduate Studies. Applicants are usually enrolled MPA students from the Woodrow Wilson School. The certificate program is intended primarily for training scholars from other disciplines and does not lead to an advanced degree at Princeton.

Demographic Training

Demography has been a field of graduate study at Princeton since the Office of Population Research was founded in 1936.

Because of the wide range of specializations encompassed by the field, including substantive and methodological subjects in the social, mathematical, and biological sciences, there are four levels of certification of graduate training in population studies for students enrolled at Princeton University:

The courses section of this website has information about graduate courses in population and related subjects as well as the current course schedule.

Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Wallace Hall, Princeton NJ 08544
Phone: (609) 258-4870 • Fax: (609) 258-1039 • Email: webmaster